Search Results: commune (4)

Photo: Melvyn Stiriss
Melvyn Stiriss: “The Farm collective was our attempt to create a utopia.”

Voluntary Peasants Trilogy Tells The Story of S.F.’s Monday Night Class and The Farm

When a ragtag band of hippies set out in a 20-bus caravan from San Francisco in 1970 looking to reinvent society, they rode into the history books with a psychedelic, very weird yet very American tale of idealism and do-it-yourself utopia.
And right there in the midst of things was young writer Melvyn Stiriss. Tom Brokaw once said of himself, “In the sixties, I was a young up-and-coming reporter, and I came right up to the edge of what was happening, and I backed away.” 

“At that time, I too was a rising young journalist,” Stiriss said. “I came up to that same edge as Tom, only I went Wheeee! Over. And that has made all the difference.”
“The fact that I am a trained, experienced journalist placed me in a situation that was both enviable and uniquely challenging,” Stiriss said. “I never entered the hippie world with the idea of writing about it. I was never just a fly-on-the-wall, unattached observer. I was in deep, sometimes over my head.”

Mother Jones

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

​The man under the faded Giants cap wiped his forehead again for about the thousandth time. It was hot and it was late. Harvey should have been here 30 minutes ago. 
The duffle bag in the back of his ancient Charger ticked like a tell-tale bud wanting to get out. The man wanted to go. He had pressing business at 2:30 that he couldn’t be late for. Then there was this other guy to hook-up with. 
His long mane fell out of the cap as he ran his hand through that swamp of molted hair looking for dust on the horizon. It was a little before 2 and the temperature was deep into the red. 
Between the LB’s in the trunk, the Charger’s engine actually ticking under the midday sun, and the clock in his head counting off like a nasty verbal egg timer telling him he needs to get moving if he wants to make his hook-up and his 2:30, he was getting nervous — for a man who doesn’t get nervous. The man would have started pacing if it wouldn’t have looked too suspicious. 

Graphic: Voluntary Peasants

​For those who were too young or weren’t born yet, have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be in the first wave of hippies that crested in the late 1960s and early 70s? So have I.

Now you can get a real window on that world, perhaps a clearer window than ever before. Actually, it’s more of a total immersion in that world rather than just a window on it, because Holy Hippies and The Great, Round-the-Country Save-the-World School Bus Caravan is written very much from an inside viewpoint.
Holy Hippies is Book Two of Stiriss’s “Voluntary Peasants Trilogy,” penned by former UPI journalist turned hippie Melvyn Stiriss. Toke of the Town also loved Book One, Enlightenment: What’s It Good For when it was released last December.
The trilogy is the first comprehensive, inside story of The Farm, the biggest, most successful hippie commune in United States history, located at Summertown, Tennessee.
The Farm won the “alternative Nobel Peace Price,” the Swedish-based Right Livelihood Award, “for caring, sharing and acting with and on behalf of those in need at home and abroad.”
The place really was a haven of good vibes; I visited several times during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and got a warm welcome each time. I remember being struck by the fact that the sentries at the front gate of The Farm didn’t shake your hand — they hugged you.

Toke of the Town realizes that many of you are going to get blotto on New Year’s Eve, and there’s no denying that’s the traditional thing to do.
But as Mason Tvert has told us, marijuana is safer. So if you want to have the best time possible this December 31 as you bring in a fresh 2010, maybe you should have a pot party instead of a beer bash.
At the very least, if you must get drunk, smoke pot while doing so. Scientific studies show that marijuana helps protect your brain cells from the damaging effects of bingeing on alcohol.
Towards the goal of reducing the incidence of nasty hangovers, projectile puking, and waking up in bed with people you don’t know, and in the interest of promoting parties that are safer and more fun, here are 10 songs you don’t want to miss when compiling a playlist to bring in the new year in high style.